Six Flags Adding VR Technology To Real Roller Coasters!
If you’re making a trip to a Six Flags park this summer, virtual reality will be a new option for some of their biggest and most popular roller coasters.
After many rumors, Six Flags has officially announced the addition of a new VR Coaster experience being added to a coaster at several of their theme parks. Unlike previous VR coasters experiences we’ve seen tested on smaller coasters over the last couple years, guests will be able to dive off the top of a skyscraper with Superman while actually diving 200 foot down a REAL coaster’s first drop in the real world!
Six Flags parks will roll out one of two possible themed VR worlds on some of their most popular coasters. One is a Superman VR experience while the other is called “The New Revolution”.
On Six Flags’ three new Superman Virtual Reality Coasters, once riders take their seats and fasten the headsets, they will be fully immersed in the 360-degree comic-book world of Metropolis. Guests will be taken on a leisurely (or so they think) tour of the city of Metropolis, courtesy of Lex Corp Sky Tours. Just after departing the station riders encounter Lex Luthor who uses an anti-gravity gun along with his army of Lex Bots to create chaos throughout the city with cars, taxis and buses floating in mid-air around the rider’s vehicle. As the Lexbots continue shooting at the vehicle, Superman uses heat vison to destroy the anti-gravity gun, causing all objects to suddenly fall, including the train as it takes the first giant drop of the roller coaster. Riders then soar alongside Superman as he battles the evil Lexbots through hairpin twists and turns, loops, dips and dives before ultimately defeating Lex and the Lexbots, and returning safely back into the station.
Superman VR experience will debut at the following:
- Superman: Krypton Coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas
- Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, Maryland
- Superman: The Ride at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts
The second VR experience called New Revolution, has been given a high-tech fighter jet theme as you fly over a city as an alien mothership descends and attacks, sort of like independence day… which is most likely on purpose since the sequel will be in theaters this summer. Riders are the co-pilots in their own fighter jets as they strap in for air-to-air combat. Taking in the view around them, riders will see other aircraft in an underground secret bunker. As the aircraft moves to a landing pad, it begins to launch its thruster engines, lifting the craft straight up through the roof. During the ascent, riders can test fire their weapons using the world’s first-ever interactive gameplay technology on a roller coaster. As riders clear the roof, they realize they are on top of a skyscraper and about to launch off the edge of the building diving straight down on the first drop of the ride. The aircraft races through the city until reaching the edge of the skyline where riders see the mother ship hovering above. The mother ship is heavily protected by drones and the mission is to get past the drones, fire on the mother ship and destroy it.
The New Revolution experience will debut on the following:
- The New Revolution at Six Flags Magic Mountain (launching March 26) near Los Angeles
- Shockwave at Six Flags over Texas in Arlington Texas
- Dare Devil Dive at Six Flags over Georgia (launching March 12) just outside of Atlanta
- Ninja at Six Flags St. Louis in Eureka, Missouri
- Goliath at La Ronde in Montreal
- Steamin’ Demon at The Great Escape in Lake George, New York
To speed up the debut, Six Flags enlisted the aid of a company called VR Coasters and will be using Samsung Gear VR headgear at the parks, which was co-designed with the aid of Oculus and uses a Samsung smartphone locked away inside the headset for the computing power and visuals. According to Six Flags the new VR experience will be offered to all riders FOR FREE, but you don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to.
To reduce the wait times, guests will be given the Gear VR headsets in line instead of being passed out once in the seat. For those concerned about germs or the headsets flying off, Six flags has already addressed that. The face mask has been covered in “anti-microbial leather” and will be wiped down before every use. While the video and photos only show a single head strap on the VR headset, an overhead strap and a chin strap will be used on the Six Flags headsets as shown in the photo above. They will also be paired with a “safety lanyard,”. The park reassured us that the headsets will indeed work at night and added an official FAQ page to their website to address multiple concerns. Click here to view the official FAQ page.
Six Flags has been exploring VR for years, but only recently began to get serious about it. The German-based company, VR Coaster, presented an on-ride demo of this technology during the IAAPA expo in November 2015. We got a chance to beta test the new technology along with other park reps, and we can honestly say IT IS INCREDIBLE!
We tested the new technology on Freedom Flyer at Fun Spot Orlando which was the host location for the VR demo during the IAAPA expo.
At first thought, you might think, why would i want to use a headset on a real coaster? Well, we had our doubts too, but the truth is, it was one of the most incredible things we have ever experienced. The VR visuals matched the coaster layout. When the coaster train is about to bank left, the perspective from the virtual plane that passengers see in their headsets also banks left. The way the video matched up with the track layout really prepared us for the turns so that we weren’t just thrown around like rag dolls. Matching the virtual to the reality is the key to preventing nausea and the technology was dead on… which didn’t make us sick at all! While riding we actually felt like we were flying through a city and around giant buildings. It was really amazing!
John Duffey, Six Flags President and CEO said:
“This remarkable technology is a definite game-changer for theme park rides and represents everything our brand stands for—delivering the most thrilling and innovative rides and attractions in the world. With the addition of these virtual reality coasters, Six Flags will be introducing more than double the number of new coasters and rides than we did in 2015, and more than any year in the last decade. Innovation is part of our DNA, and news in every park every year is driving higher guest satisfaction and building strong momentum for our company.“
Six Flags season pass holders will get first dibs on the new roller coasters during a “technical rehearsal” before opening VR up to the public.
While Six Flags markets its collection of coasters as the first in North America to feature VR, similar rides have been announced in other parts of the world. Alton Towers in the UK will open the Galactica VR roller coaster in April that also uses Samsung’s Gear VR headsets. Thorpe Park also has plans in place for a ghost train that uses the HTC Vive to offer a new experience.
For tickets and more information, visit the official Six Flags website here. Go Big! Go Six Flags!
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